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#338657 - 05/02/07 10:36 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: MattJ]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
oh yeah.

#338658 - 05/03/07 12:20 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: wristtwister]
JM2007 Offline

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 37
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Wristtwister...Excellent points again. You are right, we don't really have the societal support for something like the Budokans in Japan. I am hoping for support on a much smaller scale, though. It may be that support comes only from a small portion of even the martial arts community.

Thank you for these suggestions. You have listed some good ideas which could be incorporated. I am still not sure about the mass production line type of martial arts training mentality, because that is not my intent, however, the course suggestions you offered are valid points. Thank you.

I completely understand what you are saying, but the problem lies in the catch-22 of getting accredited. You are right, why would a student want to take a course that isn't, however, in order to become so, you are required to have at least 100 graduates of the program. This definitely makes it confusing. The reason for the prices is because I still have to pay the instructors and take care of other costs (if I plan to run this professionally, I expect to have to pay similar costs as other professional organizations). I'll need to have a location, licenses, at least one administrative staff person to start, and someone else working on standards and accreditation issues. Plus, I would have to find instructors who were legitimate martial artists as well as lawyers (for the legal class), psychologists, professional instructor trainers, etc. People who could creditably teach the courses. Then, I am sure I would have to pay them. Don't get me wrong, you bring up very valid points, but I am in a catch 22.

What if I (hypothetically) offered the courses for say, $25 for the entire course (until accredited)? Would that make a huge difference in people's opinions? It would end up costing me money, but since I am planning on dropping at least seven figures into this project anyway, if that would make a huge difference, I may be willing to do so. However, I am tempted to NOT do so. Things that are given away for free are rarely valued as they should be...classes like this would be no exception. Or, what if I said the classes would be a flat $100 each until accreditation, then go up in price? Would that make things easier to accept? To answer your statement about accreditation being "two a penny", well, not REAL accreditation, which is what I would be seeking. One of them for instance, is $200,000 just to apply. That's one reason why so many institutions don't bother. But, legitimate accreditation is important to me IF and WHEN I pursue this project. I am sorry that you view my complete honesty and "upfrontness" as of the "snake oil variety" and a "scam." I can't do any more than I can do, and I believe complete honesty and integrity in all aspects is the best way to approach things. Last, you said "There's nothing wrong with setting up a course of study, but what you are setting up is a college, which you are not." Actually, that is exactly what I am desiring to do...set up an actual martial arts college, not just a program of instruction.

Okay, I will answer your questions by the numbers as you asked them.

1. "How will you go about establishing performance standards for grades and degrees?

Since you have had expereicne in writing syllabi, then you know they have to fit with an overall view of the subjetc matter.

Whom gets to decide the overall sublect matter and why?

And why is that opinion to be respected by anyone that will deal with the students you produce?"
ANSWER: This would be accomplished by the board of directors and in conjuction with an invitation to the major martial arts organizations to join us. Textbooks would be chosen (for instance, I am thinking about "Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts" by Donn F. Draeger and "The Way of the Warrior" by Howard Reid in the course "Survey of the Martial Arts"). Then, assignments would be based on the chapters in the books, exams and papers would be based on the subject matter in the books.
I can't make anyone respect it...either they do or they don't.

2. "What standards will be used in picking textbooks--the "history" of the MA is rather fragmented and contentions, beyond some very basic info."
ANSWER: The board would have to decide which books are most credible. However, even for martial arts history, most of them pretty much say the same thing...that no one really knows up until about the 14th century. After that, written records are available, and as we move in the 18th century to modern day, extensive historical records are available. That is just one example (but the one you used).

3. "Where will you get teachers--and why should they teach for you?
In practical terms why would getting taught by some dude trump getting direct hands on teaching from a "name" expert just down the block?"
ANSWER: I don't really have an answer for this yet. I have contacted a few people I know that either are "names" or close to "names" to feel them out. I will also be looking for people that have degrees in both the subject matter they are teaching (say, history, for example) as well as extensive experience in martial arts. I don't really have a good answer for this yet, but suggestions are welcome. Anyone on this board have a strong educational background as well as strong martial arts background? Want to teach?

4. "How will you test the skills of the people you hire?
There is a rigouros process in place to hire say Econ prof at the college level.
You have a model in place where you find out the knowloge base of the teacher."
ANSWER: Actually, how rigorous the process is depends on the school. But to answer your question...I'm not sure. I think it will be pretty easy to determine, though, if I am asking someone to teach business management whether or not they have been successful. Plus, the board will work as a consortium of sorts, hopefully.

5. "Why would a person not be better off simply taking some business classes at the local college and taking his/her martial arts the same way??"
ANSWER: They might be better off doing just that, however, those classes won't be specifically geared to martial arts; ours will.

6. "How will the degree be received in the MA community?"
ANSWER: Well, if publicized appropriately, people would understand this is an academic degree that is supplemental to their normal martial arts training. I personally see that as a good thing.

7. "There is the practical matter of demonstrated skill.
If I have direct, hands on, practical skills in various areas--as long as I can prove it/back it up, I can get classes waved in college.
How will that work with you?
If a person comes in that can beat the heck out of the teacher, does that that mean they get an automatic "A?""
ANSWER: Yes, it will, to some extent. The entire core curriculum can be CLEPed and otherwise tested out of. That is exactly the same thing you are talking about. Regarding their physical abilities, yes, we require a certain rank progression...if they have already achieved that, they can receive credit for it. Same thing for the teaching internship...if they, for example, have been running a dojo for several years, they can receive credit fo that. Same thing for first aid/CPR...if they are already qualified to the level required, they can receive credit for that.

7, part 2. "At what level of skill would you start to offer a stright degree??
Say a guy/gal with 25 years of training and a MBA showed up and asked to take the "masters" exam?
How could you test them?
Better yet on what basis could you turn them down for the test?"
ANSWER: We would not test them on that basis alone. They have not met the requirements. If they had the experience of doing the exact same thing...we would let them test or give them credit. Having an MBA does not demonstrate they know the ins and outs of running a martial arts dojo. Having 25 years of teaching experience does not mean they understand the various different theories of teaching. They could have the internship waived (which is actually teaching a class), but not the class called "Teaching Martial Arts," which explains different theories of helps round them out.

8. "How would you work around organizations?"
ANSWER: I would prefer to be working WITH include developing curriculum and standards with their input.

The last point you offered about getting a business degree as well as your own martial arts training...well, that might be the better route. I can't guarantee people would respect this degree, even if accredited (although I suspect it would be respected if and when it was to become accredited). You also said you can do it "with better quality classes than you can provide." That's a assumption, of course. Maybe the classes I and the instructor staff I put together will be pretty awesome. I think they will be, if I actually do this.

Well, I think that is enough for now...sorry about the "book", but I am only answering the questions you ask.

Have a great day, and I look forward to hearing more from you...respectfully, Jason

#338659 - 05/03/07 08:00 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772

I am still not sure about the mass production line type of martial arts training mentality, because that is not my intent...

no, I'm sure thats not your intent at all by offering online classes to deliver to the most amount of people while minimizing operating costs.

you mentioned you'll be investing '7 figures' into the project. I'm not good with numbers that that 10 million USD? that much commitment implies you'll be seeking certain numbers of students in order to turn profit.

at some point, someone will question your idea's credability.
you are ranked from here:
with the PA based 'honbu' / academy:

Is that where you got this idea of a University? from Cold Mountain Academy?

#338660 - 05/03/07 08:37 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: Ed_Morris]
JM2007 Offline

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 37
Loc: San Antonio, TX

Seven figures is one million. According to the figures I have gathered, it will cost me just over this to set up the school the way I want to, which would include things such as dorm rooms (remember, we're talking about a residential program, too.)

And no, to answer your question, it really has nothing to do with profit. I would love to break even eventually, but the college program will be a non-profit (that doesn't mean it can't pay back the initial investment, though). As you did the background research on me, you may have noticed that I am very much a philanthropist. I have been involved with the start up of several non-profit corporations (one of which was nationally recognized), and I currently work full-time for one. As far as karate is concerned, I haven't even charged for instruction for the last five years, because I have been able to manage the costs without doing so. I also teach a class from my home, where I have a "garage dojo" set up. Mainly neighborhood kids who would love to train but aren't able to make it to the dojo. Did you also read that I do this as a ministry? So, no, it's not about the money. I do this because I love to, and I will do what I can afford to. It's my way of "giving back." (More about my school plans later in this message) Although I probably should have never made the original statement about costs, since I did...the answer to your next question is yes, I do have the capital available. I'm certainly not "rich", but I can do this. I have not tried to hide any of this, but it's not about me, so I usually don't bring it up unless necessary. My intentions are honorable.

The main reason to offer online classes is because of the accreditation issue. Since you can't get accredited until you have been in operation for at least two years and have at least 100 program graduates, I believe the distance learning program the way I have described is the most appropriate option to lead to accreditation. Once again, however, I am completely open to suggestions from anyone and everyone that would like to make them (I know there are a lot of smarter people than me in this forum...)

Second, why would someone question my idea's credibility because I have a website for my school, which, by the way, anyone is welcome to visit (it's on the www...not hiding anything there)? Is it because I would like to have income producing schools? If I want to build something that will last, they HAVE to produce income. Otherwise they won't survive. Is it because I mentioned the words "chain of schools" in my site? I believe very much in the concept of having a (tightly controlled) chain of schools that maintain the highest and ethical standards. Not McDojo-type black belt mills, but just a set of schools that are associated with each other, teaching the exact same curriculum, with the same standards. Is that wrong?

And no, I didn't get the idea from the Cold Mountain Academy...they aren't doing anything at all like I have discussed and proposed. One of the reasons I am associated with them, however, is because they strongly supported the vision I described for this college I am talking about.

I hope that answers your questions....respectfully, Jason

Edited by JM2007 (05/03/07 08:45 AM)

#338661 - 05/03/07 08:57 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
I think it is an interesting idea. But...even accreditation won't mean anything to 'old school'. Meaning...I don't think your graduates will be able to get a job with their degrees.

There are so many small, good MA schools languishing right now from lack of funds...have you considered throwing your support behind them instead?

#338662 - 05/03/07 10:09 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5846
Loc: USA

1-So where wil this "Board of Dorectors come from? And exactly what standards are you setting up foe their levels of skills and knowloge?

2-So this unnamed board with unamed cred, will decide what books are to be used.
What method are you going to use to establish critieria for textbook standards?

My text books at school are vetted with a specific process--what is yours?

3-No I don't want to teach.

4-So you have no model or mechanisim to either establish the skills of the people teaching classes nor even a guess about how you would go about it.

Good luck with getting any form of acceditation.

5-Your missing the point, perhaps delibratley so.

They are the SAME classses your going to be offering, you can just get better, cheaper, elsewhere, with no need to go to your school.

Not knocking you---just pointing out that a business that can't offer a better product at a better price really can't compete.

6-I disagree, I think people will see this as uneeded and perhaps unwanted.

7-So if you allow people to CLEP the entire program--what exactly will you be teaching?
And worse, if I can come and CLEP pretty much everything--then why take the courses at all?

There seems to be no advantage to either you or me to do so.

I'm guessing that a large portion of your potential market will be able to CLEP out of pretty much everything.

Anyone with a BA and 5-10 years exp will probably meet most if not all your offerings.

And again, if you have some ma training, then you would probably be better off in a accredited, reconginized business program for the rest.

8-So you have no plans in place or ideas about how to work with organizations?

Not trying to be harsh--but one of the things I am quite "hands on" with is new business ventures.

And right now I see little more than "thought problem" here.

Perhaps it will make money--but it does not sound very strong right now.

Edited by cxt (05/03/07 10:12 AM)
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#338663 - 05/04/07 12:24 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: cxt]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
My feeling about this discussion is that we have reached some common understandings here...
1. Everyone would like to see something like this in place.
2. The likelihood of it happening is "slim to none".
3. There is no way for it to ever reach legitimacy as a 4 year program, since the physical and mental skills take a lifetime to acquire.
4. The program would be more focused on those that were hoping to go into "martial arts businesses".
5. The quality of the training would always be in question.
6. The structure of martial arts learning does not lend itself to this type of learning environment as currently structured.

What we have here is a "good idea" that is far more impractical because of the lack of social support and structure necessary to make it successful. Our society does not recognize the value of MA training as a lifetime endeavor as do the Asian societies, and do not support it in the same manner.

Here, it is looked at as "day care", or "something to do to get in shape"... not Budo. Our history is not tied to the development of these arts as is Japan or Okinawa, so there is no historical perspective for the society to adapt that "yearning to train", as in their countries. While our country celebrates history with Revolutionary War and Civil War re-enactments, and holidays celebrating events of our history, we do not have festivals honoring the Samurai or the Code of Bushido that are found in Japan, or those kinds of festivals that are found in Asian countries which exhibit historical skills and training that was found in our country.

I'd love to see a "martial arts college", but the practical side of me says "it ain't gonna happen" and be something that is either accepted by the organizations that currently manage the styles of martial arts, or the businesses that currently manage the training of martial arts. It will continue as it has been since first being brought over... with the significant difference that it will continue to be watered down by promoters (a discussion for another day).

We will continue to find open McDojos, where you can have "fries with that back-kick"...

What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

#338664 - 05/04/07 01:05 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772

Seven figures is one million.

oh yeah.


I believe very much in the concept of having a (tightly controlled) chain of schools that maintain the highest and ethical standards. Not McDojo-type black belt mills, but just a set of schools that are associated with each other, teaching the exact same curriculum, with the same standards. Is that wrong?

of course not, nor is anyone to judge unless you are breaking the law or not delivering anything useful. The judgement will come from the enrolled students who take the courses and pay the money. and the silent judgement will be from those who don't enroll or even give the idea the time of day.

I'm not saying the idea is wrong or right. your in the idealistic stage, people here are pointing out some realities without trying to be to much of a buzz-buster. your background is pertinent since it kindof gives an impression/guess of where you are coming from. and you seem to be coming from others who have started their own orgs/academies/standards which to be honest, most always seem to end up affiliating with larger orgs that have a reputation of tournament-centric mcdojoism.

While it may not be your problem what people do with your MA degree you sign them after they have met the requirements to graduate - after a while it will be increasingly your problem since you will need sponsorship from organizations honoring your degree...EVEN if you are accredited.

So the question is, which kind of organizations & dojos are likely to accept and honor their degrees? The ones which have some say as to the curriculum. Which ones will have some say? The largest sponsors. Who will be the largest sponsors? mcdojos.

Established organizations have their own standards - someone with two Phd's from Harvard in Asian history and medical science does not necessarily make them better suited to teach than a person trained in carpentry, for instance.

Why will mcdojos be the largest backers of your college as oppossed to the federations and organizations well established with widely known and respected founders? Because mcdojos need teachers. more teachers means more franchises, more franchises means more money. standards won't be kept if it means sacrificing enrollment. whatever the current fad is, they will offer access to it by hiring an instructor. Advertising that they are graduates of your MA college gives a selling point as to the qualification of the instructors.

you aren't in it for the money, but yet you say you have to make money to survive. If survival of the business is more important than the Art, the business-side will always win. you might be forced to deliver what the investors want: mcdojo instructors.

not necessarily a prediction...I guess just a warning.

#338665 - 05/06/07 07:27 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: Ed_Morris]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi Ed,

The value of degree programs depends on the faculty teaching them.

Say one art is involved, even four focused years of instruction will hardly dent what someone needs to know to be an instructor.

A program on MA history, while interesting for the individual, really has little to do with training students.

It has a poisonous flaw in that many of the current martial texts are flawed. I have over 500 books in my library and as time passes, finding original errors that are replicated in subsequent volumes over and over is so common. And even one error throws the merit of an entire work into oblivion. An example is a Pa-Kua text that shows a diagram of the human body with the liver on the wrong side of the body. How much else might be wrong? In effect the study of MA History might be renamed a study in MA Myth, for much of it is unverifiable.

Who are qualified to be the faculty? There are none who have done this before. So you end up with other degree holders who translate those studies into MA classes. Have they done so correctly? Does an MBA holder from a legitimate organization find working MA business practices interesting enough to develop a curriculum of value? Business wise, MA is small potatoes, can only go so because of the nature of the business. Would those with serious business studies spend their efforts to make a potential MA instructor more capable to run a dojo?

Universities offer programs solely for their financial benefit. They hire instructors to both teach those programs as well as continue to conduct research into their studies, and senior instructors rarely spend much time teaching. So their efforts must financially be bound into the Universities success. First year programs exist to garner great cash flow, as many of those students will wash out, for many reasons, and in turn they are often taught be new instructors and teaching assistants, keeping the costs down.

If it was a university that was taking the effort to determine how to manage developing a MA program, perhaps there would be some possibility of this occurring, as courses from other disciplines might be included.

For example how many ‘English’, ‘Rhetoric’ and other basic university programs will be included in the degree requirements. University programs are developed on the premise that a degree candidate might pursue a career in their training, but at the same time enough other material must be offered to give the candidate other possibilities if their growth goes in other directions.

After Watergate there were many times many more journalism majors than there were active journalists. Today there are more law students than practicing lawyers. A carefully designed program will accept that as a field of study it’s candidates must be more than qualified to move into other professions, too.

A successful program in a university is more than just one idea.

Now Medical School is a training profession after university.

Perhaps the JKA developed its International Instructors program in that light. The candidate must first have been a graduate of a 4 year university as well as be into their dan ranks by that point. Then they developed a 3 year intensive program, combining other studies and advanced karate training. The result is those individuals were the only ones qualified to advance their art world wide, controlled promotions, etc.

The flaw that I see is they had maybe 7 years training, in my way of thinking far too short a time.

A short order, 4 year course of study, has some value for an individual who wants that training. Where is there any proof that it equates to preparing advanced MA’s.

Ideas like anatomy and physiology sound great, but how does that integrate into an art? That would take decades of work to prove such value. A short course in First Aid and keeping a cell phone handy to contact emergency and medical professionals is a stronger answer for an instructor.

Some thoughts,
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#338666 - 05/07/07 02:01 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: Victor Smith]
JM2007 Offline

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 37
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Hello everyone,

I see there are several posts for which I need to respond. I have been gone for several days, and it is extremely late at this time, so I just wanted to let those of you who might be expecting an answer from me know that I am not ignoring you and will respond soon, probably tomorrow. As a quick note, however, I would like to say that I have read through the posts and found them to be extremely helpful. Although many of you don't agree with my idea, I believe you are trying to honestly provide feedback and, for that, I am appreciative.

Thank you once again, respectfully, Jason

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